UNWTO and IATA Collaborate on Destination Tracking to Restore Confidence in Travel
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has again convened its Global Tourism Crisis Committee to lead the sector in harmonizing travel and health protocols and securing vital funding for businesses struggling to survive a historical crisis.
The ninth meeting of the Crisis Committee proposed solutions to the biggest challenges that stand on the way back from international travel.
Committee members, drawn from political leadership, international organizations, including UNWTO sister agencies, finance and the private sector, discussed the recommendations of the Crisis Committee, which focus on four areas keys: resumption of safe cross-border travel; promote safe travel at all points of the tourist journey; providing liquidity to tourism businesses, protecting jobs and restoring confidence in travel.
The virtual meeting was co-hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Opening the discussions, Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Ahmad bin Aqil Al Kateeb, said, “Saudi Arabia is working with public and private sector partners both regionally and globally to accelerate the resumption of international travel. Facilitating safe and smooth travel is the only way to restore the confidence of travelers and tourism businesses, which will ultimately drive the industry’s recovery. “
Harmonized protocols and confidence building
The Committee supported the EU’s digital green pass project as an example of common protocols to be followed for other regions. Addressing the meeting, EU Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said that “we can make the summer of 2021 the start of the post-pandemic era, a safer, more sustainable, more resilient and more prosperous ”. He stressed that “the tourism sector can – and should – be at the forefront of this effort, leading the recovery of the European and global economy”.
Mr. Schinas also described the work being done to increase consumer confidence in tourism, already devastated by the problems of cancellation and reimbursement of travel services and noted: “The efforts of the UNWTO to develop a International code for the protection of tourists are welcome ”. The historic legal code is one of many key UNWTO initiatives aimed at restoring confidence in international travel.
Also at the Committee, UNWTO and IATA (the International Air Transport Association) announced the upcoming launch of a new destination tracking system. This tool will be available on the websites of both organizations and will provide comprehensive and up-to-date information on airline and destination restrictions and requirements, allowing tourists to make informed choices.
Recommendations for recovery
The recommendations of the UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee stress the importance of basing policies on existing international health and aviation regulations, including, but not limited to, the provisions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and those of the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), in particular its “Takeoff” guidelines and the work of its working group on the restoration of civil aviation (CART) ). The recommendations also call for the creation of public health corridors, the implementation of digital health solutions and the development of a common “traffic light” system as a recognizable risk management framework. Presenting the recommendations, the Greek Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Technical Group of the UNWTO Crisis Commission, Harry Theoharis, said that “this year we have more tools in our arsenal, including vaccinations, to meet all the concerns of travelers and those employed in the tourism sector. “
Financing the survival of tourism
Through the Global Committee on the Tourism Crisis, UNWTO has also made progress in its work to tackle one of the other major challenges facing global tourism – the sudden stoppage of cash flow tourism and the need to support businesses and protect jobs. Along with ICAO and WHO, UNWTO is one of the only United Nations agencies working with the OECD on its international mobility initiative. UNWTO also works closely with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The OECD and EBRD again contributed to the latest Crisis Committee meeting, advancing coordinated efforts to support tourism businesses during the current crisis and also to build future resilience and achieve greater sustainability, including by encouraging green investments in the sector. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) also updated the Committee, with their representatives focusing in particular on the potential role of innovation, green investments in tourism, and business support. , now and during the recovery. phase.